February is a month we often see red hearts everywhere and the American Heart Association hopes that all of those hearts will remind people the importance of heart health.
"The month of February is women's heart health month and this is the time we stop and try to become aware of their heart health. One in three women will die of heart disease. It’s really something we need to get people to think about. And for the most part this is preventable," explains Betty Critch of the Center of Excellence for Women’s Health. On Thursday night, women and men dressed in red for the 2nd annual "City Goes Red" event.
"Historically, women have not really been all that aware of heart disease. It’s always been considered a disease of men. Over the last 20 years we've made a lot of progress in that, but still every year, more women die every year of heart disease than men do. We typically associate female diseases with like breast cancer and so forth, but heart disease is way more prominent than breast cancer," agrees Monongalia General President Darryl Duncan.
"And if we can get women to understand what they need to be doing, they will naturally lead their families. And if women go to see their health care provider, more than likely, their husband and children are going to go,” adds Critch.
The goal of an event like "City Goes Red" is to provide a less clinical atmosphere for women to ask questions.
"What we try to do is create environments where it’s been comfortable. So there's no stress there's no judgment. That's what we’re trying to do here. That's what we do on our W.O.W [Women on Wellness] retreats. Is we put women in an environment where its comfortable. And also, because it’s so relaxed, they have an opportunity to speak to these folks," says Critch.
In addition to testing, there were vendors who support heart health and a healthy food chef to give a cooking demonstration. But most important goal was spreading awareness. "I think if you have any kind of anxiety or symptoms of heart disease then you should take that extra step and go see your family physician and get checked out," says Duncan.
West Virginia University Pharmacy students were also sharing heart health information on Thursday with the residents of The Village in Morgantown. Visit the American Heart Associations website for more information.